WayfinderWoman, in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council, has received £79,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting two year project, ‘Revealing Women of Influence in Eastbourne’ where women of today, hidden by personal circumstances, will reveal the hidden women of Eastbourne’s past.
Volunteers will be trained in research skills to enable them to track down the untold stories of Eastbourne women who were influential artists, writers, inventors, industrialists and social reformers. Their research will be made available through a specially designed website so it can be easily accessed by everyone in the community. During the second year of the project, more volunteers will be trained in public speaking so they can talk to schools and community groups about their research. They’ll encourage the audience to research their own female ancestry and add the details to the website. Thus there will be a living, growing library revealing women who have made their mark in the town over time.
Women have often been overlooked when it comes to recording historical events. Of the 21 statues, memorials and plaques in Eastbourne, only one celebrates a female (author Lucy Atwell) and when Eastbourne celebrated its 700th anniversary as a market town, there was no mention of the role of women in its evolution. Now is the time to highlight women of influence in Eastbourne in the lead up to the forthcoming anniversary of female emancipation in the UK.
WayfinderWoman works with women and young girls to overcome barriers that are preventing them from progressing through the workplace. Commenting on the award, Chairperson Laura Murphy said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Not only will young girls now have historical role models to help them believe they can do more, but the women involved will also gain self-confidence, develop a passion for our past and learn valuable skills that can be used to gain future employment.”
Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Councillor Margaret Bannister, said, "This is a really exciting heritage project that will show the massive impact women have had in shaping our town into the vibrant place it is today.
“We hope that people will get involved by contributing stories about their own ancestry to the website. These stories will hopefully help to inspire future generations of young women in Eastbourne to achieve their goals.”
Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said, “We’re delighted to support WayfinderWoman and Eastbourne Borough Council in uncovering Eastbourne’s hidden heritage, revealing the stories of women who contributed to local and national history.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will give a voice not only to historic female figures but to women today, who will learn valuable skills and create an interactive and inclusive resource to inspire future generations.”